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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

2009 INCSR: Policy and Program Developments

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
February 27, 2009


Overview for 2008

International narcotics trafficking is a directly threatens the national security of the United States. Drugs sold on U.S. streets lead to overdose deaths and ruined lives, erode families, and foster criminality and violence. Trafficking organizations, looking to build their customer base, sometimes pay in drugs instead of cash, promoting drug abuse and its social consequences in source and transit countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. Many of these same countries are besieged by narcotics criminals who corrupt and financially undermine legitimate law enforcement and government institutions. The environment is equally threatened, as drug producers hack down forests and dump toxic chemicals in fragile ecosystems.
The United States Government (USG) confronts the threat of international narcotics trafficking through a combination of law enforcement investigation, interdiction, diplomatic initiatives, targeted economic sanctions, financial programs and investigations, and institutional development initiatives focused on disrupting all segments of the illicit drug market, from the fields and clandestine laboratories where drugs are produced, through the transit zones, to our ports and borders. In 2008, U.S. federal law enforcement officials worked cooperatively with the police of partner nations to conduct international investigations that successfully apprehended, among others, Zhenli Ye Gon, Eduardo Arellano Felix, and Haji Juma Khan. Another international law enforcement operation involving the DEA, the Royal Thai Police, the Romanian Border Police, the Korps Politie Curacao of the Netherlands Antilles, and the Danish National Police Security Services led to the arrest of Victor Bout on charges of attempting to provide sophisticated weapons to the narco-terrorist organization the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.[1]
The USG continued to provide partner nations with essential training assistance to strengthen their law enforcement and judicial systems and helped them improve their capacity to investigate, prosecute, and punish transnational criminal activity. Closer international cooperation among governments and financial institutions continues to close the loopholes that allow narcotrafficking organizations to legitimize their enormous profits through sophisticated money laundering schemes.
Much of our cooperation with partner nations occurred under bilateral arrangements for mutual legal assistance, extraditions, and training programs. Multilateral efforts also continued to be a key component of the overall U.S. counternarcotics strategy. Through multilateral organizations, the United States has the opportunity to encourage contributions from other donors so that we can undertake counternarcotics assistance programs, jointly sharing costs and expertise. U.S. participation in multilateral programs also supports indigenous capabilities in regions where the United States is unable to operate bilaterally for political or logistical reasons. Counternarcotics assistance through international organizations promotes awareness that drug producing and transit countries inevitably become consuming nations; today it is clearly understood that drugs are not a U.S. problem, but a global challenge.
One example of working with partner donors is the Good Performers Initiative (GPI) in Afghanistan, a U.S.-UK-funded initiative launched in 2006 to reward provinces for successful counternarcotics performance. Based on the results of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s annual Afghanistan Opium Cultivation Survey, this incentive program provides funds for development projects to provinces that were poppy-free or reduced their poppy cultivation by more than 10 percent from the previous year. In 2008, 29 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces qualified for over $39 million in GPI development assistance projects. To date, the U.S. government has contributed over $69 million to GPI and its predecessor the Good Performer’s Fund, while the UK has provided approximately $12 million. In Nangarhar province, for example, four micro-hydro projects that generate electricity for rural villages have been completed with these funds and 20 more are scheduled to be built in 2009.
International treaties are another key tool in the fight against international narcotics trafficking. Three mutually reinforcing UN conventions are particularly important:


  • The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs – 1961
  • The Convention on Psychotropic Substances – 1971, and
  • The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances" (the "1988 UN Drug Convention")


The 1988 UN Drug Convention is nearly universally accepted and serves as one of the bases for this report (For a full explanation, see the chapter titled “Legislative Basis for the INCSR”). A list of the countries that are parties to the 1988 UN Drug Convention is included in this report (source: UNODC). In 2008, there were no additional parties to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Although the Convention does not contain a list of goals and objectives, it does set forth a number of obligations that the parties agree to undertake. Generally speaking, it requires the parties to take legal measures to outlaw and punish all forms of illicit drug production, trafficking, and drug money laundering; to control chemicals that can be used to process illicit drugs; and to cooperate in international efforts to these ends.


In addition to the UN conventions that are focused exclusively on drugs, newer international instruments, such as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention against Corruption, have helped in the fight against the international narcotics trade by making law enforcement cooperation, extraditions, border security, and tracking of illicit funds more efficient among the parties to the treaties.


While most countries are parties to the UN conventions, the ultimate success of international drug control efforts does not hinge completely on whether countries are parties to them. The vast majority of countries also have their own domestic laws and policies to support their obligations under the conventions. Success in international drug control depends on international political will to meet the commitments made when countries joined the UN conventions. Sustainable progress also requires sufficient capacities to enforce the rule of law and implementing the objectives of committed governments. To assist this process, the United States is committed to enhancing the capacity of partner governments to uphold their international commitments.


Controlling Supply


Cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), marijuana and heroin are the internationally trafficked drugs that most threaten the United States and our international allies. The United States is a producer of two of these drugs, marijuana and ATS. The USG is committed to confronting the illicit cultivation and manufacture of these drugs. In 2007, the DEA-initiated Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program was responsible for the eradication of 6,600,000 cultivated outdoor cannabis plants and 430,000 indoor plants. In 2008, California alone eradicated 5,250,000 plants. Pharmaceutical preparations containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are the primary chemicals necessary for methamphetamine production. The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA), passed in 2005, established regulations for the sale of such products in the United States and became effective at the national level for the first time in late 2006. In 2008, the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act was passed allowing States to institute computerized log books of purchases of methamphetamine precursor preparations. According to the National Clandestine Laboratory Database, methamphetamine lab incidents reported by all law enforcement agencies nationwide declined from more than 17,000 in 2005 to 5,900 in 2007 (2007 is the last complete year for which there are statistics, preliminary 2008 statistics are discussed later in this chapter, but the number in 2008 is expected to remain well below 50% of the 2005 figure). This dramatic decline is due to increased enforcement, the controls authorized by the two recent methamphetamine acts, and public and private demand reduction efforts.


In addition to eradicating marijuana crops found within the United States as part of our drug control strategy, the USG has provided assistance to countries that have made a policy decision to eradicate illicit crops as part of their own comprehensive drug control strategies. Crops in the ground are one of the critical nodes of production. Coca and poppy crops require adequate growing conditions, ample land, and time to reach maturity, all of which make them vulnerable to detection and eradication.


Perhaps the most acute and crucial challenge of achieving sustainable development in territories where drug-cultivation takes place is the need to integrate otherwise marginalized regions into the economic and political mainstream of their country. The term that is most often used for this by the United States, the United Nations, and other international actors is “alternative development.” Alternative development goes far beyond crop substitution, the usual assumed meaning. In some situations, crop substitution is neither feasible nor desirable. In some areas, the same soil that supports illicit drug crop cultivation does not have adequate nutrients to support licit crops. Licit crops rarely produce the same income as drug crops, and in some cases, farmers will need inducement to pursue non-agricultural pursuits. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in 2008 economic and environmental inducements caused many farmers in Afghanistan to plant wheat instead of poppy. One factor that possibly influenced this shift was the rise in global food prices, making wheat a more viable economic alternative to poppy. Other powerful inducements could include access to credit, improved security, and the provision of government services such as the building of roads, schools, and health centers, and a reliable supplying of basic services like electricity and water, and the threat of losing an investment in illicit crops to eradication or asset forfeiture. These programs are vulnerable to disruption from crime, corruption and non-state actors, such as the FARC in Colombia or the Taliban in Afghanistan. Establishing them on the ground is a lengthy, sometimes frustrating process; however, if implemented correctly, alternative development is an effective policy. Without it, crop eradication alone will never amount to more than a temporary palliative, and will not achieve sustainable reduction of illicit narcotic crops. However, without security and government control of outlaw areas, neither program can succeed.


For synthetic drugs, such as ATS, physical eradication is impossible. Instead, the United States and our allies must create a legal regime of chemical controls and law enforcement efforts aimed at thwarting those who divert key chemicals, and destroying the laboratories needed to create ATS. As with our domestic enforcement efforts, our international programs focus on all the links in the supply-to-consumer chain: processing, distribution, and transportation, as well as the money trail left by this illegal trade.




The rate of U.S. cocaine consumption has generally declined over the past decade. From 2002 to 2007, rates of past-year use among youths aged 12 to 17 declined significantly for cocaine as well as for illicit drugs overall (Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health). Despite the declines, cocaine continues to be a major domestic concern. Internationally, cocaine continues to pose considerable risk to societies in the Americas, and increasingly to fragile transit states in West Africa. The 2008 World Drug Report by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime noted, as it has in previous years, that the decline in cocaine consumption and demand in North America has been replaced by demand in Europe. The UN report is hopeful that demand in Europe is leveling off, but notes that, “the growth in markets which are either close to source (South America) or on emerging trafficking routes (Africa) indicate that further containment is still a challenge.”


Since all cocaine originates in the Andean countries of Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, the U.S. Government provides assistance to help these countries develop and implement comprehensive strategies to reduce the growing of coca, processing coca into cocaine, abuse of cocaine within their borders, and illegal transport of cocaine to other countries.

Coca Eradication/Alternative Development: The 2008 Interagency Assessment of Cocaine Movement (IACM) estimates that between 500 and 700 metric tons (MT) of cocaine departed South America toward the United States in 2007, slightly less than the previous year’s estimate of 510 to 730 metric tons. We support efforts by these governments to eliminate illegal coca. Alternative development programs offer farmers opportunities to abandon illegal activities and join the legitimate economy, a key tool for countries seeking to free their agricultural sector from reliance on the drug trade. In the Andean countries, such programs play a vital role in providing funds and technical assistance to strengthen public and private institutions, expand rural infrastructure, improve natural resources management, introduce alternative legal crops, and develop local and international markets for these products.


In Colombia, USG alternative development (AD) initiatives supported the cultivation of over 238,000 hectares of legal crops and completed 1,212 social and productive infrastructure projects in the last seven years. More than 291,000 families in 18 departments have benefited from these programs, and the USG has worked with Colombia’s private sector to create an additional 273,000 full-time equivalent jobs.


At the close of the sixth year of the Peru alternative development program, more than 756 communities have renounced coca cultivation and over 49,000 family farmers have received technical assistance on 61,000 hectares of licit crops (cacao, coffee, African palm oil, etc.). With many of these long term crops now entering their most productive years, the alternative development program has expanded business development activities to link AD producers to local and world markets at optimum prices. The direct link between AD and eradication is successfully reducing coca cultivation and is a model for further progress against illicit cultivation.


In 2008, the annual value of USAID-promoted exports reached almost $35 million in Bolivia, assistance to farm communities and businesses helped generate 5,459 new jobs, new sales of AD products of nearly $28 million, and approximately 717 kilometers of roads were improved and 16 bridges constructed. However, these cooperative efforts were overshadowed by the Government of Bolivia’s (GOB) ousting of USAID from the Chapare region.


The government of Colombia dedicates significant resources to reduce coca growing and cocaine production; however, its large territory and ideal climate conditions make Colombia the source of roughly 60 percent of the cocaine produced in the region and around 90 percent of the cocaine destined for the United States, with Peru and Bolivia a distant second and third respectively.


In 2008, the Colombian National Police (CNP) Anti-Narcotics Directorate reported aerial spraying of over 130,000 hectares of coca and manually eradicating over 96,000 hectares despite entrenched armed resistance by the FARC, a drug-trafficking organization that is also a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. If harvested and refined, this eradicated coca could have yielded hundreds of metric tons of cocaine worth billions of dollars on U.S. streets.


In 2008, Peru exceeded its eradication goals for the second year in a row by eradicating more than 10,000 hectares. This success was achieved despite the continued targeting of eradication teams by the Shining Path, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The Shinning Path, which is reliant on drug trafficking for its funding, was reportedly responsible for attacks on police and military personnel in the Upper Huallaga Valley (UHV) and the Apurimac and Ene River Valleys and threatened eradication workers and other government authorities and alternative development teams. Coca growers in the UHV engaged in violent acts to resist eradication.


Bolivian President Evo Morales continued to promote his policy of “zero cocaine but not zero coca” and to push for legitimization of coca. His administration continues to pursue policies that would increase government-allowed coca cultivation from 12,000 to 20,000 hectares—a change that would violate current Bolivian law and contravene the 1988 UN Drug Convention, to which Bolivia is a party. On September 11, 2008, President Morales expelled the U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia. During 2008, President Morales also expelled the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from Bolivia and the U.S. Agency for International Development from the coca growing Chapare region. Coupled with continued increases in coca cultivation, cocaine production, and the Government of Bolivia's (GOB) unwillingness to regulate “licit” coca markets, President Bush determined on September 15 that Bolivia had "failed demonstrably" in meeting its international counterdrug obligations. For greater detail see the memorandum of justification in this report.

Cocaine Seizures: Colombian authorities reported seizing over 223 metric tons of cocaine in 2008, an all-time record, and destroyed 301 cocaine HCl labs and 3,238 cocaine base labs. Peru reported seizing over 22 metric tons of cocaine. In Bolivia, USG-supported counternarcotics units reported seizing 26 metric tons of cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) and destroying 6,535 cocaine labs and maceration pits.


Collectively, the eradication of coca and seizures of cocaine within the Andean source countries prevented hundreds of metric tons of cocaine from reaching U.S. streets and deprived international drug syndicates of billions of dollars in profits.

Interdiction in the Cocaine Transit Zone: The cocaine transit zone drug flow is of double importance for the United States: it threatens our borders, and it leaves a trail of corruption and addiction in its wake that undermines the social framework of societies in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Helping our neighbors’ police transit zones has required a well-coordinated effort among the governments of the transit zone countries and the USG. With high levels of post-seizure intelligence collection, and cooperation with allied nations, we now have more actionable intelligence within the transit zone.


The U.S. Joint Inter-Agency Task Force—South (JIATF-S), working closely with international partners from throughout the Caribbean Basin, has focused its and regional partners’ intelligence gathering efforts to detect, monitor, and seize maritime drug shipments. The USG’s bilateral agreements with Caribbean and Latin American countries have eased the burden on these countries by allowing the United States to conduct boardings and search for contraband on their behalf. They also allow the USG to gain jurisdiction over cases, removing the coercive pressure from large drug trafficking organizations on some foreign governments.


Mexican law enforcement reported seizing 19 metric tons (MT) of cocaine in 2008.


Venezuela reported seizures of over 54 metric tons of cocaine in 2008. However, the Government of Venezuela does not allow the USG to confirm its seizures, and these figures include seizures made by other countries in international waters that were subsequently returned to Venezuela, the country of origin. According to the U.S. government’s Consolidated Counterdrug Database, 239 non-commercial cocaine flights departed Venezuela in 2008, some bound for Caribbean islands in route to major markets.


Dominican authorities seized approximately 2.4 metric tons of cocaine. There was a fifteen percent increase in drug smuggling flights to Haiti in 2008. While Haitian law enforcement units worked to improve their response to air smuggling of cocaine, the seizure and arrest results were limited.


West Africa has become a hub for cocaine trafficking from South America to Europe. Although according the UNODC’s 2008 World Drug Report, Africa accounts for less than 2 percent of global cocaine seizures, this number is expected to rise in future years. Seizures of cocaine in Africa reached 15 MT in 2006, but were below 1 MT between 1998 and 2002. Out of the total number of cocaine seizures made in Europe in 2007 (where the ‘origin’ had been identified), 22% were smuggled via Africa, up from 12% in 2006 and 5% in 2004. This onslaught is due to more effective interdiction along traditional trafficking routes, and the convenient location of West Africa between Andean cocaine suppliers and European consumers. It also reflects the vulnerability of West African countries to transnational organized crime.


Synthetic Drugs

Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS): Abuse and trafficking in highly-addictive amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) remain among the more serious challenges in the drug-control arena. The 2008 edition of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime’s World Drug Report notes that a stabilization in the ATS market over the past three years appears to have occurred in parallel with the implementation of precursor control programs and prevention programs. The report states that ATS abuse has decreased in the United States and increases in consumption have slowed in some other markets, such as Europe and Asia. Consumption, however, has increased in the Middle East and Africa.


Methamphetamine production and distribution are undergoing significant changes in the United States. The number of reported methamphetamine laboratory seizures in the United States decreased each year from 2004 through 2007; however, preliminary 2008 data and reporting indicate that domestic methamphetamine production, while still well below its peak, is increasing in some areas, and laboratory seizures for 2008 outpaced seizures in 2007. The pattern of decreased lab presence from 2004-2007 was probably due in part to increasingly effective domestic controls over the retail sale of licit pharmaceutical preparations containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, the primary chemicals necessary for methamphetamine. Regulations for the sale of such products in the United States became effective at the national level for the first time in late 2006 under the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA). To capitalize on these gains and prevent production from merely shifting ground, the U.S. Government enhanced the scale and pace of its law enforcement cooperation with the Government of Mexico to target the production and trafficking of methamphetamine. For its part, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center’s 2009 National Drug Threat Assessment, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine import restrictions in Mexico contributed to a decrease in methamphetamine production in Mexico and reduced the flow of the drug from Mexico to the United States in 2007 and 2008. Methamphetamine shortages were reported in some drug markets in the Pacific, Southwest, and West Central Regions during much of 2007. In some drug markets, methamphetamine shortages continued through early 2008. In 2008, however, small-scale domestic methamphetamine production increased in many areas, and some Mexican drug trafficking organizations shifted their production operations from Mexico to the United States, particularly to California.


The United States is keenly aware that drug traffickers are adaptable, well-informed, and flexible. New precursor chemical transshipment routes may be emerging in Southeast Asia and Africa, and there is also ample evidence that organized criminal groups ship currently uncontrolled chemical analogues of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine for use in manufacturing illicit methamphetamine-type drugs. Some methamphetamine produced in Canada is distributed in U.S. drug markets and Canada is a source country for MDMA to U.S. markets as well as a transit or diversion point for precursor chemicals used to produce illicit synthetic drugs (notably MDMA, or ecstasy), according to the NDIC 2009 National Drug Threat Assessment.


The Netherlands remains an important producer of ecstasy as well, although the amount of this drug reaching the United States seems to have declined substantially in recent years, following new enforcement measures by the Dutch Government. Labs in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe are major suppliers of amphetamines to the European market, with the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries among the heaviest European consumers of ATS.

Pharmaceutical Abuse, and the Internet: According to the National Drug Intelligence Center’s December 2008 National Drug Threat Assessment, the number of Internet sites offering sales of controlled prescription drugs decreased in 2008, for the first time after several years of increase. It is not known what percentage of this abuse involves international sources. In the United States, The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 was enacted in October 2008. The new federal law amends the Controlled Substances Act and prohibits the delivery, distribution, or dispensing of controlled prescription drugs over the Internet without a prescription written by a doctor who has conducted at least one in-person examination of the patient.


Cannabis (Marijuana)


Cannabis production and marijuana consumption continue to appear in nearly every world region, including in the United States. Marijuana still remains the most widely used of all of the illicit drugs. According to the December 2008 “Monitoring the Future” study, marijuana use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, was not statistically different from the year before. However, since the peak years of the mid-1990s, annual use has fallen by over 40 percent among 8th graders, 30 percent among 10th graders, and nearly 20 percent among 12th graders. The prevalence rates for marijuana use in the prior year now stand at 11 percent, 24 percent, and 32 percent for grades, 8, 10, and 12, respectively.


Drug organizations in Mexico produced more than 15,000 metric tons of marijuana in 2008, much of which was marketed to the more than 20 million users in the United States. Overall, Canada supplies a small proportion of the overall amount of marijuana consumed in the United States; however, large-scale cultivation of high potency marijuana is a thriving illicit industry in Canada. Other source countries for marijuana include Colombia, Jamaica, and possibly Nigeria. Production of marijuana within the United States may exceed that of foreign sources.


According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), marijuana potency has increased sharply. Of great concern is the high potency, indoor-grown cannabis produced on a large scale in Canada and the United States in laboratory conditions using specialized timers, ventilation, moveable lights on tracks, nutrients sprayed on exposed roots and special fertilizer that maximize THC levels. The result is a particularly powerful and dangerous drug.


Opium and Heroin


Opium poppy, the source of heroin, is cultivated mainly in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, and on a smaller scale in Colombia and Mexico. In contrast to coca, a perennial which takes at least a year to mature into usable leaf, opium poppy is an easily planted annual crop. Opium gum can take less than 6 months from planting to harvest.


In Afghanistan, a combination of factors led to a reduction in the cultivation and production of opium for the first time in several years. Among these factors were: including Afghan government and international donor programs that rewarded entire provinces for decreasing or eliminating opium cultivation; increased prices for other commodities such as wheat; decreased prices for opium; and bad weather. Nangarhar province alone shifted from having the second highest area of poppy cultivation in 2007 to achieving poppy free status in 2008. This was due in large part to the high-profile law enforcement and incentives campaign implemented by the provincial governor. Even with this limited progress, Afghanistan continues to be the source of more than 90% of the world’s illicit opiates. This glut of narcotics has fueled increasing addiction rates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. The narcotics trade thrives in the conditions created by insurgents and warlords, who exact a portion of the profits for protection of crops, labs, trucks, and drug markets. Exact figures for the black market economy are impossible to obtain, but the UN estimates that the Taliban and other anti-government forces have extorted $50 million to $70 million in protection payments from opium farmers and an additional $200 to $400 million of income in forced levies on the more-lucrative drug processing and trafficking in 2008.


Most of the heroin used in the United States comes from poppies grown in Colombia and Mexico, although both countries are minor producers in global terms. Mexico supplies most of the heroin found in the western United States while Colombia supplies most of the heroin east of the Mississippi. Long-standing joint eradication programs in both countries continue with our support. Colombian law enforcement reported eradicating 381 hectares of opium poppy in 2008. We estimate that poppy cultivation decreased 25 percent from 2006 to 2007 in directly comparable areas of Colombia. This led to a 27 percent drop in potential production of heroin and a 19 percent decrease in purity of Colombian heroin seized in the United States, according to the DEA. The Government of Mexico (GOM) reported eradicating 12,035 hectares of opium poppy.


Controlling Drug-Processing Chemicals


Cocaine and heroin are manufactured with certain critical chemicals, some of which also have licit uses but are diverted by criminals. The most commonly used chemicals in the manufacture of these illegal drugs are potassium permanganate (for cocaine) and acetic anhydride (for heroin). Government controls strive to differentiate between licit commercial use for these chemicals and illicit diversion to criminals. Governments must have efficient legal and regulatory regimes to control such chemicals, without placing undue burdens on legitimate commerce. Extensive international law enforcement cooperation is also required to prevent their diversion from licit commercial channels, and to investigate, arrest and dismantle the illegal networks engaged in their procurement. This topic is addressed in greater detail in the Chemical Control Chapter of this report.


Drugs and the Environment

Impact of Drug Cultivation and Processing: Illegal drug production usually takes place in remote areas far removed from the authority of central governments. Not surprisingly, drug criminals practice none of the environmental safeguards that are required for licit industry, and the toxic chemicals used to process raw organic materials into finished drugs are invariably dumped into sensitive ecosystems without regard for human health or the costs to the environment. Coca growers routinely slash and burn remote, virgin forestland in the Amazon to make way for their illegal crops; coca growers typically cut down up to 4 hectares of forest for every hectare of coca planted. Tropical rains quickly erode the thin topsoil of the fields, increasing soil runoff, and depleting soil nutrients. By destroying timber and other resources, illicit coca cultivation decreases biological diversity in one of the most sensitive ecological areas in the world. In Colombia and elsewhere, traffickers also destroy jungle forests to build clandestine landing strips and laboratories for processing raw coca and poppy into cocaine and heroin.


Illicit coca growers use large quantities of highly toxic herbicides and fertilizers on their crops. These chemicals qualify under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s highest classification for toxicity (Category I) and are legally restricted for sale within Colombia and the United States. Production of the drugs requires large quantities of dangerous solvents and chemicals. One kilogram of cocaine base requires the use of three liters of concentrated sulfuric acid, 10 kilograms of lime, 60 to 80 liters of kerosene, 200 grams of potassium permanganate, and one liter of concentrated ammonia. These toxic pesticides, fertilizers, and processing chemicals are then dumped into the nearest waterway or on the ground. They saturate the soil and contaminate waterways and poison water systems upon which local human and animal populations rely. In the United States, marijuana-processing operations take place in national parks, especially in California and Texas near the border with Mexico. These marijuana growing operations leave behind tons of garbage, biohazard refuse, and toxic waste. They also contribute to erosion as land is compacted and small streams and other water sources are diverted for irrigating the illegal marijuana fields.


Methamphetamine is also alarming in its environmental impact. For each pound of methamphetamine produced in clandestine methamphetamine laboratories, five to six pounds of toxic, hazardous waste are generated, posing immediate and long-term environmental health risks, not only to individual homes but to neighborhoods. Poisonous vapors produced during synthesis permeate the walls and carpets of houses and buildings, often making them uninhabitable. Cleaning up these sites in the United States and Mexico requires specialized training and costs thousands of dollars per site.

Impact of Spray Eradication: Colombia is currently the only country that conducts regular aerial spraying of coca, although countries throughout the world regularly spray other crops with herbicides. The only active ingredient in the herbicide used in the aerial eradication program is glyphosate, which has been thoroughly tested in the United States, Colombia, and elsewhere. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved glyphosate for general use in 1974 and re-registered it in September 1993. EPA has approved its use on food croplands, forests, residential areas, and around aquatic areas. It is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. Colombia’s spray program represents a small fraction of total glyphosate use in the country. Biannual verification missions continue to show that aerial eradication causes no significant damage to the environment or human health. The eradication program follows strict environmental safeguards, monitored permanently by several Colombian government agencies, and adheres to all laws and regulations, including the Colombian Environmental Management Plan. In addition to the biannual verification missions, soil and water samples are taken before and after spray for analysis. The residues in these samples have never reached a level outside the established regulatory norms. The OAS, which published a study in 2005 positively assessing the chemicals and methodologies used in the aerial spray program, is currently conducting further investigations expected to be completed in early 2009 regarding spray drift and other issues.


Attacking Trafficking Organizations


Law enforcement tactics have grown more sophisticated over the past two decades to counter the ever-evolving tactics used by trafficking networks to transport large volumes of drugs internationally. Rather than measuring progress purely by seizures and numbers of arrests, international law enforcement authorities have increasingly targeted resources against the highest levels of drug trafficking organizations. Increasingly, international law enforcement authorities are learning the art of conspiracy investigations, using mutual legal assistance mechanisms and other advanced investigative techniques to follow the evidence to higher and higher levels of leadership within the syndicates, and cooperating on extradition so that the kingpins have no place to hide. These sophisticated law enforcement and legal tools are endorsed as recommended practices within both the 1988 UN Drug Control Convention and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.


The drug trade depends upon reliable and efficient distribution systems to get its product to market. While most illicit distribution systems have short-term back-up channels to compensate for temporary law enforcement disruptions, a network under intense enforcement pressure cannot function for long. In cooperation with law enforcement officials in other nations, our goal is to disrupt and dismantle these organizations, to remove the leadership and the facilitators who launder money and provide the chemicals needed for the production of illicit drugs, and to destroy their networks. By capturing the leaders of trafficking organizations, we demonstrate both to the criminals and to the governments fighting them that even the most powerful drug syndicates are vulnerable to concerted action by international law enforcement authorities.


Mexican drug syndicates continue to oversee much of the drug trafficking into the United States, with a strong presence in most of the primary U.S. distribution centers. President Calderon’s counternarcotics programs seek to address some of the most basic institutional issues that have traditionally confounded Mexico’s success against the cartels. The Government of Mexico is using the military to reestablish sovereign authority and counter the cartels’ firepower, moving to establish integrity within the ranks of the police, and giving law enforcement officials and judicial authorities the resources and the legal underpinning they need to succeed.


To help Mexico achieve these goals, the United States Congress appropriated $465 million in June 2008 to provide inspection equipment to interdict trafficked drugs, arms, cash and persons; secure communications systems for law enforcement agencies; and technical advice and training to strengthen judicial institutions. Similarly, Congress has provided support to Central American countries, including the continued implementation of the USG’s anti-gang strategy, support for specialized vetted units and judicial reforms, and enhanced land and maritime drug interdiction.


This appropriation will complement existing and planned initiatives of U.S. domestic law enforcement agencies engaged with counterparts in each participating country. On December 3, 2008, a Letter of Agreement (LOA) was signed with the Government of Mexico obligating $197 million of the funding for counternarcotics programs. On December 19, the Governments of the United States and Mexico met to coordinate the implementation of the Mérida Initiative through a cabinet-level High Level Group, which underscored the urgency and importance of the Initiative. A working level inter-agency implementation meeting was held February 3 in Mexico City with the aim of accelerating the roll out of the 39 projects for Mexico under the Initiative. In addition, LOAs were signed with Honduras on January 9, El Salvador on January 12, Guatemala on February 5 and Belize on February 9.




There are few legal sanctions that international criminals fear as much as extradition to the United States, where they can no longer use bribes and intimidation to manipulate the local judicial process. Governments willing to risk domestic political repercussions to extradite drug kingpins to the United States are finding that public acceptance of this measure has steadily increased.


Mexican authorities extradited 95 persons to the United States in 2008. Colombia has an outstanding record of extradition of drug criminals to the United States, and the numbers have increased even more in recent years. The Government of Colombia extradited a record 208 defendants in 2008. Since President Uribe assumed office in 2002, 789 individuals have been extradited.


Institutional Reform

Fighting Corruption: Among all criminal enterprises, the drug trade is best positioned to spread corruption and undermine the integrity and effectiveness of legitimate governments. Drugs generate illegal revenues on a scale without historical precedent. No commodity is so widely available, so cheap to produce, and as easily renewable as illegal drugs. A kilogram of cocaine can be sold in the United States for more than 15 times its value in Colombia, a return that dwarfs regular commodities and distorts the licit economy.


No government is completely safe from the threat of drug-related corruption, but fragile democracies in post-conflict situations are particularly vulnerable. The weakening of government institutions through bribery and intimidation ultimately poses just as great a danger to democratic governments as the challenge of armed insurgents. Drug syndicates seek to subvert governments in order to guarantee themselves a secure operating environment. Unchecked, the drug cartels have the wherewithal to buy their way into power. By keeping a focus on fighting corruption, we can help avoid the threat of a drug lord-controlled state.

Improving Criminal Justice Systems: A pivotal element of USG international drug control policy is to help strengthen enforcement, judicial, and financial institutions worldwide. Strong institutions limit the opportunities for infiltration and corruption by the drug trade. Corruption within a criminal justice system has an enormously detrimental impact; law enforcement agencies in drug source and transit countries may arrest influential drug criminals only to see them released following a questionable or inexplicable decision by a single judge, or a prosecutor may obtain an arrest warrant but be unable to find police who will execute it. Efforts by governments to enact basic reforms involving transparency, efficiency, and better pay for police and judges helps to build societies based on the rule of law.

Strengthening Border Security: Drug trafficking organizations must move their products across international borders. A key element in stopping the flow of narcotics is to help countries strengthen their border controls. Through training and technical assistance we improve the capability of countries to control the movement of people and goods across their borders. Effective border security can disrupt narcotics smuggling operations, forcing traffickers to adjust their methods and making them vulnerable to further detection and law enforcement action.


Money Laundering and Financial Crimes


The illegal drug trade is fundamentally an illicit business. It enters the legitimate commercial world through its dependence on raw materials, processing chemicals, transportation networks, and its need to launder profits through legitimate commercial and financial channels. We continue our efforts to block the drug business in all these areas, in particular focusing on the financial end to prevent drug proceeds from being legitimized and then diverted to fund insurgencies and terrorism, or to fund actions that undermine the institutions of government. Governments have the potential, by working together, to make it difficult for drug profits to enter the legitimate international financial system. Money laundering and financial crimes are of such importance to international narcotics control efforts that they are reviewed in volume two of this report.


Next Steps


Drug trafficking organizations are ever evolving as they seek to grow, manufacture, and move their products to market and then launder their profits in new ways. In recent years we have seen the introduction of internet sales for distribution, semi-submersible vessels for moving large shipments internationally, and trafficking branching off into new routes that are more difficult to detect. The USG and the international community have responded with national legislation, international agreements, and cooperative law enforcement actions. The USG remains committed to working with our international partners to confront every aspect of narcotics production, trafficking, and abuse.

Demand Reduction

Recognizing the threat posed by illicit drugs, the National Security Presidential Directive on International Drug Control Policy (NSPD-25) requests that the Secretary of State “expand U.S. international demand reduction assistance and information sharing programs in key source and transit countries”. Demand reduction has evolved as a key foreign policy tool for addressing inter-connected threats of drugs, crime, and terrorism, and more recently, is a critical component in efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly in countries with high numbers of intravenous drug users.

Drug abuse and addiction have a devastating impact on individual lives, families, and communities; drug abuse is inextricably linked with the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), tuberculosis, and hepatitis C. Drug abuse is also associated with family disintegration, loss of employment or income, school failure, domestic violence, child abuse, and other social problems and criminal acts Based on the U.S. view of the U.S. experience in trying to reduce the demand for drugs, many foreign countries request INL-sponsored technical assistance to enhance the development of effective policies and programs to combat international narcotics abuse. INL continues to provide guidance for effective policy formation for a clear framework for a coordinated, balanced approach to drug prevention and treatment, including sharing critical information to promote and preserve the stability of societies threatened by the narcotics trade.

Our demand reduction strategy includes a wide range of initiatives to address the needs and national security threats posed by the illicit drug trade. These efforts cover strategies to prevent the onset of drug use, intervention with drug abusers, and improving treatment delivery. In achieving these goals, INL supports the following:

  • training and technical assistance to educate governments and public organizations on science-based best practices in drug prevention and treatment;
  • development and support of regional and international coalitions for drug-free communities, involving private/public social institutions and law enforcement;
  • research and evaluation efforts, to measure the effectiveness of intended prevention and treatment programs; and
  • dissemination of science-based information and knowledge transfer at multilateral and regional organizations.


Taking into account the unique needs of female drug addicts, INL supports substance abuse treatment, training and technical assistance that addresses women’s drug treatment issues, and related violence.

As a cornerstone of a strong demand reduction strategy, and with the understanding that local problems need local solutions, INL assists foreign partners to generate funding for training to reduce substance abuse among youth, and to strengthen the collaboration among organizations and agencies in the public and private sectors. Training activity has been conducted in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru. Other completed and on-going INL-funded demand reduction projects for Fiscal Year 2008 included:

  • Demand Reduction Seminar:” What Works to Reduce Drug Use?” Held in Budapest, Hungary on January 23-24, 2008. Reviewed several successful drug demand reduction projects in prevention and treatment programs, and highlighted the latest research on specific drug use and addiction. Participants in this training were encouraged to facilitate collaboration and exchange ideas with the goals of preventing and reducing drug use.
  • U.S.-Mexico 7th Binational Drug Demand Reduction Seminar: “Unifying Efforts toward Best Practices” July 23-25, 2008. The goal of the seminar centered on strategies, programs, and policies aimed at reducing the demand for illicit drugs and promoting best practices for prevention, intervention, and treatment
  • UNODC Global: “Best Practice” Drug Treatment Symposium”, Dec. 16-18, 2008, in Vienna, Austria, to discuss and share with participants from across the world, the efficacy and effectiveness of science-based treatment practices to assist professionals, administrators, therapists, and other participants to identify and treat substance abuse disorders.
  • Colombo Plan: The USG and the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program (DAP) will establish a training arm for treatment experts to prepare the process of professional certification of addiction professionals in Asia.
  • Afghanistan: This initiative includes training of women in counseling techniques, family therapy, and support for group networks. It includes creation of five substance abuse treatment programs to address women’s drug abuse treatment needs.
  • El Salvador: Enhancements to corrections and community-based treatment programs to address the overlapping challenges of male and female drug abuse, gang membership and related violence, funding includes a certification program for drug addiction counselors.
  • Brazil: Creation of an outreach center for 245 high-risk youth whose parents are drug abusing prostitutes, including plans for the creation of a model drug treatment center for women and their children (the first such facility in Latin America). Also, INL-funded staff training in a juvenile corrections system in Sao Paulo included a pilot program targeting incarcerated juvenile females.
  • Colombia: A science-based outcome evaluation revealed that overall drug use was reduced by 44% in individuals treated at residential treatment programs which received INL-sponsored training. Initial results suggest that training of professionals improve post recovery outcomes. The reduction suggests that training enhanced post treatment outcomes.

INL continues its funding for the Creation of Muslim Anti-Drug Outreach Centers in volatile regions where the U.S. has limited access to civil society in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and remote sections of Pakistan. This initiative includes collaboration with the INL-supported network of 400 Muslim-based Anti-Drug programs. Initiatives are designed to:

  • enhance the appreciation for American drug-treatment programs in Muslim countries,
  • reduce drug consumption that can fund terrorist organizations,
  • reduce drug-related violence,
  • cut into the recruitment base of terrorist organizations, and
  • provide youth living in at-risk areas with alternatives to radical or terrorist indoctrination centers.

Methodology for Estimating Illegal Drug Production


Introduction: Illegal narcotics are grown, refined, trafficked, and sold on the street by criminal enterprises that attempt to conceal every step of the process. Accurate estimates of such criminal activity are difficult to produce. The estimates on illicit drug production presented in the INCSR represent the United States Government’s best effort to sketch the current dimensions of the international drug problem. They are based on agricultural surveys conducted with satellite imagery and scientific studies of crop yields and the likely efficiency of typical illicit refining labs. As we do every year, we publish these estimates with an important caveat: they are estimates. While we must express our estimates as numbers, these numbers should not be seen as precise figures. Rather, they represent the midpoint of a band of statistical probability that gets wider as additional variables are introduced and as we move from cultivation to harvest to final refined drug. Although these estimates can be useful for determining trends, even the best USG estimates are ultimately only approximations.


Each year, we revise our estimates in the light of field research. The clandestine, violent nature of the illegal drug trade makes such field research difficult. Geography is also an impediment, as the harsh terrain on which many drugs are cultivated is not always easily accessible. This is particularly relevant given the tremendous geographic areas that must be covered, and the difficulty of collecting reliable information over diverse and treacherous terrain. Weather also impacts our ability to gather data, particularly in the Andes, where cloud-cover can be a major problem.


Improved technologies and analysis techniques also produce revisions to United States Government estimates of potential drug production. This is typical of annualized figures for most other areas of statistical tracking that must be revised year to year, whether the subject of analysis is the size of the U.S. wheat crop, population figures, or the unemployment rate. When possible, we apply these new techniques to previous years’ data and adjust appropriately, but often, especially in the case of new technologies, we can only apply them prospectively. For the present, these illicit drug statistics represent the state of the art. As new information becomes available and as the art and science improve so will the precision of the estimates.


Cultivation Estimates: With limited personnel and technical resources, we cannot look at an entire country for any hint of illicit cultivation. Analysts must, therefore concentrate their efforts on those areas that are most likely to have cultivation. Each year they review eradication data, seizure data, law enforcement investigations information, the previous year’s imagery, and other information to determine the areas likely to have cultivation. They try to improve upon the previous year’s search area if possible. They then make their best effort to estimate cultivation in the new survey area using proven statistical techniques.

The resultant estimates meet the USG need for an annual gross estimate of cultivation for each country. They also help with eradication, interdiction and other law enforcement operations. As part of the effort to provide a better and more comprehensive assessment, the areas surveyed are often expanded and changed, so direct comparison with previous year estimates are often impossible. The Table below shows how expanded geographic search areas have added to the estimates for one country, Colombia.

Year-to-Year Cultivation Comparison

Description: Chart shows year-to-year cultivation comparison. State Dept Photo
-- 2007 coca cultivation estimate: 167,000 ha*, a 6% increase over 2006

-- Reconstitution and new planting in existing survey areas

-- 4,700 ha (3%) in newly surveyed areas

-- Survey Areas increased 6% over 2006

*90% confidence interval: 156,000-178,000 ha

Numbers do not appear to add due to rounding.                                                     


Harvest Estimates. The size of the harvest depends upon a number of other factors. Small changes in soil fertility, weather, farming techniques, and disease can produce widely varying results from year to year and place to place. To add to the uncertainty, most illicit drug crop areas are not easily accessible to the United States Government, making scientific information difficult to obtain. We continually strive to improve our harvest estimates. Our confidence in coca leaf yield estimates has improved in the past few years, based upon the results of field studies conducted in Latin America. Such studies led to a reduction in our estimates of average productivity for fields that had been sprayed with herbicide, but not completely destroyed. In such fields, some, but not all of the coca bushes survive. The farmers of the illicit crop either plant younger bushes among the surviving plants or let what is left grow until harvest. In either case, the average yield of such plots is considerably less than if it had not been sprayed. Multiple studies in the same growing area over several years have helped us understand the effects of eradication and have helped us to measure the changes in average yield over time.

Coca fields which are less than a year old (“new fields”) produce much less leaf than mature fields. In Colombia, for example, fields might get their first small harvest at six months of age; in Bolivia fields are usually not harvested in their first year. The USG estimates include estimates for the proportion of new fields each year and adjust the estimated leaf production accordingly.

Processing Estimates. The wide variation in processing efficiency achieved by traffickers complicates the task of estimating the quantity of cocaine or heroin that could be refined from a crop. Differences in the origin and quality of the raw material used, the technical processing method employed, the size and sophistication of laboratories, the skill and experience of local workers and chemists, and decisions made in response to enforcement pressures all affect production. While not completed in time for this year’s estimates, we do have some indications that coca processing in Bolivia may be more efficient than previously estimated. If further research confirms this preliminary finding, estimates will be adjusted accordingly.

The USG estimates for cocaine and heroin production are potential estimates; that is, it is assumed that all of the coca and opium poppy grown is processed into illicit drugs. This is not a bad assumption for coca leaf in Colombia or for opium gum in any country. In Bolivia and Peru, however, the USG potential cocaine production estimates are overestimated to some unknown extent since significant amounts of coca leaf are legally chewed and used in products such as coca tea. In Southwest and Southeast Asia, it is not unrealistic to assume that virtually all poppy is harvested for opium gum, but substantial amounts of the opium are consumed as opium rather than being processed into heroin. (The proportion of opium ultimately processed into heroin is unknown.)


Other International Estimates: The USG helps fund estimates done by the United Nations in some countries. These estimates use slightly different methodologies, but also use a mix of imagery and ground-based observations. The UN estimates are often used to help determine the response of the international donor community to specific countries or regions.

There have been some efforts, for Colombia in particular, for the USG and the UN to understand each other’s methodologies in the hope of improving both sets of estimates. These efforts are ongoing.

This report also includes data on drug production, trafficking, seizures, and consumption that come from host governments or NGOs. Such data is attributed to the source organization, especially when we cannot independently verify it.

Worldwide Illicit Drug Cultivation


2002-2008 (all figures in hectares)



























































































in process































Total Poppy

















in process








in process








in process







Total Coca

























in process







Total Cannabis









Notes on Colombia poppy cultivation: Partial survey in 2007 due to cloud cover. The 2005 survey could not be conducted due to cloud cover. The 2000 survey could not be conducted due to cloud cover. The reported number is a weighted average of previous years' cultivation.

Notes on Pakistan poppy cultivation: The 2005, 2006, and 2008 surveys included only the Bara River Valley growing area. No estimate was produced in 2002, but cultivation was observed.

Note on Colombia coca cultivation: Survey areas were expanded greatly in 2005, and to a lesser extent in 2006 and 2007.

Notes on Peru cultivation: In the 2006 survey, the Cusco growing area could not be completed; the value for that area is an average of the 2005 and 2007 estimates. Survey areas were expanded in 2005.

Note on China poppy cultivation: Yunnan Province surveyed in 2007; no poppy detected.


Worldwide Illicit Drug Production


2002-2008 (all figures in metric tons)


























































































in process































Total Opium








Coca Leaf









in process








in process








in process







Total Coca Leaf*








Potential Pure Cocaine









in process








in process








in process







Total Potential Pure Cocaine
















Lebanon (hashish)








Mexico (marijuana)

in process







Total Cannabis









Notes on Colombia opium production: Partial survey in 2007 due to cloud cover. The 2005 survey could not be conducted due to cloud cover. The 2000 survey could not be conducted due to cloud cover. The reported number is a weighted average of previous years' cultivation.

Note on Pakistan opium production: The 2005, 2006, and 2008 surveys are censuses that include the Bara River Valley growing area only.

Note on Bolivia coca leaf production: In 2006, CNC revised the 2001-05 values due to new yield information.

Note on Colombia coca leaf production: New research in 2007 led to revised leaf and cocaine production figures for 2003 - 2006. Survey areas were expanded greatly in 2005, and to a lesser extent in 2006 and 2007.

Notes on Peru coca leaf production: In the 2006 survey, the Cusco growing area could not be completed; the value for that area is an average of the 2005 and 2007 estimates. Survey areas were expanded in 2005. The 2001- 2005 values were revised in 2007 to reflect new yield numbers for immature fields.

Note on China opium production: Yunnan Province surveyed in 2007; no poppy detected.

Parties to the 1988 UN Convention



Date Signed

Date Became a Party

1. Afghanistan

20 December 1988

14 February 1992

2. Albania


27 June 2001

3. Algeria

20 December 1988

9 May 1995

4. Andorra


23 July 1999

5. Angola


26 October 2005

6. Antigua and Barbuda


5 April 1993

7. Argentina

20 December 1988

28 June 1993

8. Armenia


13 September 1993

9. Australia

14 February 1989

16 November 1992

10. Austria

25 September 1989

11 July 1997

11. Azerbaijan


22 September 1993

12. Bahamas

20 December 1988

30 January 1989

13. Bahrain

28 September 1989

7 February 1990

14. Bangladesh

14 April 1989

11 October 1990

15. Barbados


15 October 1992

16. Belarus

27 February 1989

15 October 1990

17. Belgium

22 May 1989

25 October 1995

18. Belize


24 July 1996

19. Benin


23 May 1997

20. Bhutan


27 August 1990

21. Bolivia

20 December 1988

20 August 1990

22. Bosnia and Herzegovina


01 September 1993

23. Botswana


13 August 1996

24. Brazil

20 December 1988

17 July 1991

25. Brunei Darussalam

26 October 1989

12 November 1993

26. Bulgaria

19 May 1989

24 September 1992

27. Burkina Faso


02 June 1992

28. Burundi


18 February 1993

29. Cambodia


7 July 2005

30. Cameroon

27 February 1989

28 October 1991

31. Canada

20 December 1988

05 July 1990

32. Cape Verde


08 May 1995

33. Central African Republic


15 October 2001

34. Chad


09 June 1995

35. Chile

20 December 1988

13 March 1990

36. China

20 December 1988

25 October 1989

37. Colombia

20 December 1988

10 June 1994

38. Comoros


1 March 2000

39. Congo, Democratic Republic of

20 December 1988

28 October 2005

40. Costa Rica

25 April 1989

8 February 1991

41. Cote d’Ivoire

20 December 1988

25 November 1991

42. Croatia


26 July 1993

43. Cuba

7 April 1989

12 June 1996

44. Cyprus

20 December 1988

25 May 1990

45. Czech Republic


30 December 1993

46. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


19 March 2007

47. Democratic Republic of the Congo

20 December 1988

28 October 2005

48. Denmark

20 December 1988

19 December 1991

49. Djibouti


22 February 2001

50. Dominica


30 June 1993

51. Dominican Republic


21 September 1993

52. Ecuador

21 June 1989

23 March 1990

53. Egypt

20 December 1988

15 March 1991

54. El Salvador


21 May 1993

55. Eritrea


30 January 2002

56. Estonia


12 July 2000

57. Ethiopia


11 October 1994

58. European Economic Community

8 June 1989

31 December 1990

59. Fiji


25 March 1993

60. Finland

8 February 1989

15 February 1994

61. France

13 February 1989

31 December 1990

62. Gabon

20 December 1989

10 July 2006

63. Gambia


23 April 1996

64. Georgia


8 January 1998

65. Germany

19 January 1989

30 November 1993

66. Ghana

20 December 1988

10 April 1990

67. Greece

23 February 1989

28 January 1992

68. Grenada


10 December 1990

69. Guatemala

20 December 1988

28 February 1991

70. Guinea


27 December 1990

71. Guinea-Bissau


27 October 1995

72. Guyana


19 March 1993

73. Haiti


18 September 1995

74. Honduras

20 December 1988

11 December 1991

75. Hungary

22 August 1989

15 November 1996

76. Iceland


2 September 1997

77. India


27 March 1990

78. Indonesia

27 March 1989

23 February 1999

79. Iran

20 December 1988

7 December 1992

80. Iraq


22 July 1998

81. Ireland

14 December 1989

3 September 1996

82. Israel

20 December 1988

20 May 2002

83. Italy

20 December 1988

31 December 1990

84. Jamaica

2 October 1989

29 December 1995

85. Japan

19 December 1989

12 June 1992

86. Jordan

20 December 1988

16 April 1990

87. Kazakhstan


29 April 1997

88. Kenya


19 October 1992

89. Korea


28 December 1998

90. Kuwait

2 October 1989

3 November 2000

91. Kyrgyz Republic


7 October 1994

92. Lao Peoples Democratic Republic


1 October 2004

93. Latvia


24 February 1994

94. Lebanon


11 March 1996

95. Lesotho


28 March 1995

96. Liberia


16 September 2005

97. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya


22 July 1996

98. Liechtenstein


9 March 2007

99. Lithuania


8 June 1998


26 September 1989

29 April 1992

101.Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Rep.


18 October 1993



12 March 1991



12 October 1995


20 December 1988

11 May 1993


5 December 1989

7 September 2000



31 October 1995



28 February 1996


20 December 1988

1 July 1993


20 December 1988

6 March 2001

110. Mexico

16 February 1989

11 April 1990

111.Micronesia, Federal States of


6 July 2004

112. Moldova


15 February 1995

113. Monaco

24 February 1989

23 April 1991



25 June 2003

115. Morocco

28 December 1988

28 October 1992

116. Mozambique


8 June 1998

117.Myanmar (Burma)


11 June 1991

118. Nepal


24 July 1991

119. Netherlands

18 January 1989

8 September 1993

120. New Zealand

18 December 1989

16 December 1998

121. Nicaragua

20 December 1988

4 May 1990

122. Niger


10 November 1992

123. Nigeria

1 March 1989

1 November 1989

124. Norway

20 December 1988

14 November 1994

125. Oman


15 March 1991

126. Pakistan

20 December 1988

25 October 1991

127. Panama

20 December 1988

13 January 1994

128. Paraguay

20 December 1988

23 August 1990

129. Peru

20 December 1988

16 January 1992

130. Philippines

20 December 1988

7 June 1996

131. Poland

6 March 1989

26 May 1994

132. Portugal

13 December 1989

3 December 1991

133. Qatar


4 May 1990

134. Romania


21 January 1993

135. Russia

19 January 1989

17 December 1990

136. Rwanda


13 May 2002

137. St. Kitts and Nevis


19 April 1995

138. St. Lucia


21 August 1995

139. St. Vincent and the Grenadines


17 May 1994



19 August 2005

141. San Marino


10 October 2000

142. Sao Tome and Principe


20 June 1996

143. Saudi Arabia


9 January 1992

144. Senegal

20 December 1988

27 November 1989

145. Seychelles


27 February 1992

146. Sierra Leone

9 June 1989

6 June 1994

147. Singapore


23 October 1997

148. Slovakia


28 May 1993

149. Slovenia


6 July 1992

150. South Africa


14 December 1998

151. Spain

20 December 1988

13 August 1990

152. Sri Lanka


6 June 1991

153. Sudan

30 January 1989

19 November 1993

154. Suriname

20 December 1988

28 October 1992

155. Swaziland


3 October 95

156. Sweden

20 December 1988

22 July 1991


16 November 1989

14 September 2005

158. Syria


3 September 1991

159. Tajikistan


6 May 1996

160. Thailand


3 May 2002

161. Tanzania

20 December 1988

17 April 1996

162. Togo

3 August 1989

1 August 1990

163. Tonga


29 April 1996

164. Trinidad and Tobago

7 December 1989

17 February 1995

165. Tunisia

19 December 1989

20 September 1990

166. Turkey

20 December 1988

2 April 1996

167. Turkmenistan


21 February 1996

168. UAE


12 April 1990

169. Uganda


20 August 1990

170. Ukraine

16 March 1989

28 August 1991

171. United Kingdom

20 December 1988

28 June 1991

172. United States

20 December 1988

20 February 1990

173. Uruguay

19 December 1989

10 March 1995

174. Uzbekistan


24 August 1995

175. Vanuatu


26 January 2006

176. Venezuela

20 December 1988

16 July 1991

177. Vietnam


4 November 1997

178. Yemen

20 December 1988

25 March 1996

179. Yugoslavia

20 December 1988

3 January 1991

180. Zambia

9 February 1989

28 May 1993

181. Zimbabwe


30 July 1993

Signed but Pending Ratification

1. Holy See

20 December 1988



1. Anguilla


Not UN member

2. Aruba


Not UN member

3. Bermuda



4. BVI


Not UN member

5. Republic of the Congo



6. Hong Kong


Not UN member

7. Marshall Islands



8. Namibia



9. Papua New Guinea



10. Taiwan


Not UN member

11. Turks & Caicos


Not UN member


[1] The focus of this report is on the international aspects of drug trafficking, but we want also to acknowledge the hard work of law enforcement, drug prevention, and drug treatment professionals within the United States who work every day to reduce the demand for illicit drugs and to reduce the misery they bring to our own citizens. Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies within the United States dedicate significant resources to confronting drug criminals. The United States has substantial public and private sector programs focused on drug prevention and treatment and has invested in cutting-edge medical and social research on how to decrease demand. We are proud of the results and have worked with the Organization of American States, the United Nations, and countries all over the world to share programs such as drug courts, early intervention, school and work-place drug testing coupled with counseling and other interventions, and medically sound treatment options that help addicted persons reclaim their lives. For more information about domestic drug control efforts, please see the National Drug Control Strategy of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, available on the ONDCP.GOV website.

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